The Social Dilemma: Should Docs Be on Social Media?

Nicole Sparks, MD


March 14, 2022

When I first started my social media page years ago, I never imagined the giant it would turn into today. I remember my colleagues making fun of me for blogging, and now my audience has grown into hundreds of thousands of followers between multiple platforms.

It has been said that physicians should not be on social media, but I beg to differ. Social media is exactly where physicians should be.

When I first started my social media channels and blog, it was to simply document my journey as a new mother in residency. I was fresh into an ob/gyn residency with a new baby after being told multiple times that I could never make the two work. My story resonated with many people, and I soon realized that my simple blogs would turn into so much more. Social media became a way of building my brand, providing medical information, and establishing a new patient base.

I have networked and formed new relationships with other physicians, learned the latest medical information, and attracted many new patients.

In a regular office or hospital call day, I may see 20-25 patients. However, with social media, I have had videos that reached millions of viewers. The potential reach is vast and wide. Not only are physicians using social media, but hospitals and healthcare systems are using it as well.

Here are four reasons why I believe physicians should be on social media.

1. It Helps Build Your Brand

Before deciding to start or evolve your social media presence, there are a few questions I would ask first.

What are your goals? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to be portrayed online? What is the clear message you want to convey?

Establishing my brand has helped me get featured in multiple magazines and speak on several amazing panels. Building your brand helps you to become known as an expert in your particular field. When people come to my page, they know they will get information on balancing a career and family and advocacy during their doctor appointments.

Being authentic, connecting to your audience, and establishing clear messaging helps to build your brand.

2. You Can Recruit New Patients

I cannot emphasize the number of patients who have found me via social media. Patients state they have watched my videos, loved my personality, and now want me as their personal physician.

Marketing for patients has certainly changed over the years, and I found that within a year post-residency and beginning in private practice, patients were finding me online and making their initial appointments without the billboards, magazine features, or having to ask for referrals.

Having an online presence also helps you to determine and have control over how you want to be portrayed online. The first thing patients do before they come see a physician is to google them. If a patient lands on your page, they get to meet you virtually and get a sense of who you are before ever stepping foot into your office.

Even with the occasional negative review, patients can come directly to your page to find out more about you. This allows them to feel comfortable before even making their appointment. It feels great that my social media presence was enough for patients to feel like they could entrust me with their care and make the decision to make an appointment.

3. It Provides a Platform for Evidence-based Medical Information

We are in a day and age where misinformation tends to spread faster than the truth itself. Having physicians in the era of social media gives us the opportunity to provide evidence-based information where false information runs rampant.

Although patients shouldn't take medical advice from a physician online they've never seen, social media allows us to disseminate information to a much wider audience outside of the four walls of our offices or hospitals. Through my social media, I have told my audience what to expect at their first gynecology or obstetrics appointment, offer questions they can ask to advocate for themselves, and bust common myths surrounding my specialty.

4. You Can Network With Other Physicians

Networking with other physicians is one of my favorite aspects of social media. I have met countless amazing physicians who do amazing work and research in their respective areas. We have come together to collaborate on virtual conferences, webinars, and be featured on various podcasts.

During the era of COVID where conferences took a halt, social media made it possible to still have a relationship with my colleagues. Social media removes barriers and makes it possible to stay connected with my colleagues and peers both past and present.

Now, of course, as physicians we need to be careful when it comes to social media. Each physician should be familiar with their respective hospital's social media policy and of course not divulge personal patient information.

Overall, social media is a great way for physicians to establish their brand, connect with patients and colleagues, and provide information to the general public. I know that in the future, physicians will continue to leverage social media in a way that helps us as physicians, and also helps our patients and community.

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About Dr Nicole Sparks
Nicole Sparks, MD, is a general obstetrician and gynecologist in the North Atlanta area. She also has a successful lifestyle blog at and social media presence, where she covers a wide range of topics, including how to prepare for gynecology appointments, how to advocate for yourself during office visits, having children during medical training, and navigating a medical career as a mother. Her passions include encouraging and empowering women to pursue their dreams without sacrificing their dream of motherhood. Topics Dr Sparks like to discuss include balancing motherhood and medicine, encouraging women entrepreneurs, and discussing inequities that persist in the medical field. Her goal is to have mothers feel completely supported in the medical field, no matter the specialty. Dr Sparks lives in Atlanta with her husband, two children, and a mini Australian Shepherd.

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